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Last year was a sort of reintroduction to Patriot football. Bill Belichick tried the new era way of football after the departure of Tom Brady but showed that his brand of football still works. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones had a spectacular season for a first year player, and the defense looked like the Patriots of old.
Belichick broke his tendencies last year but don’t expect that again this draft. The Pats will go back to what built the dynasty and here is what that could look like:
Round 1, Pick 21: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
The Pats put a lot of money into getting weapons for the offense in the form of tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. After the bust pick that was N’Keal Harry, the Patriots should target an outside receiver who is dynamic.
Enter Treylon Burks.
Burks is a big bodied receiver with excellent moves after the catch. He has the most big play ability in the position group and fits a major need for the Pats. Burks is a player that can play inside or outside and cause mismatches for secondaries around the league.
Round 2, Pick 21: Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia
Round 3, Pick 21: Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama
Day two has been a good day for Belichick and the Patriots as far as finding gems. That shouldn’t change here, as the Patriots are in a prime spot to take some terrific players that will have early impacts on the team.
Derion Kendrick is a solid corner that has good eyes and size. The Patriots have had luck finding defensive backs and Kendrick will be no different. He has played in two man coverage schemes at Clemson and Georgia, so getting acclimated to Belichick’s system should be seamless.
The Patriots like to run the ball and adding a player to pound the middle of defenses wouldn’t hurt. Brian Robinson is a bruiser that can accomplish that mission while also being an extension of the pass game. He can come in as the second fiddle in the backfield and fill the role that former first round pick Sony Michel left.
Round 4, Pick 21: Nick Cross, Safety, Maryland
Round 5, Pick 27: Jaivon Heiligh, WR, Coastal Carolina
Round 6, Pick 20: T.D. Moultry, Edge, Auburn
Round 6, Pick 31: Emil Ekiyor Jr., OL, Alabama
Continuing the trend on day three of taking scheme and culture fits, the Pats should look at getting quality depth on both sides of the ball.
Players like Heiligh and Moultry will provide valuable skills as well as players that will be ready when their names are called. Heiligh is a bigger framed receiver with good route prowess. He does exactly what Belichick wants: “get open and catches the ball.”
Moultry is a solid built edge player who can develop into a quality starter. His ability to set the edge as well as shrink the pocket with the bull rush makes him a perfect candidate for situational work at the next level. Knowing how much Belichick loves his defensive athletes, Moultry would thrive in the no-nonsense environment of the Patriots’ locker room.
Nick Cross is the star of day three for the Pats. He plays with good eye discipline in zone coverage and has awareness in his run fits. He has the most starting potential of the day three picks and he fits the Patriots like a glove. Belichick should look to inject some youth into the secondary room with long time playmaker Devin McCourty getting a little long in the tooth.
The Patriot Way will live on as this draft will show that as the old adage says “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”